Members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of Accord Party (AP) openly disagreed during the week over how best to resolve the lingering factionalization of the party in the state.
The national chairman, Honourable Lawal Nalado, and the acting National Secretary, Engineer Odo Ijere, are at loggerheads over the matter, with a lagre scale crises looming.
While Nalado, rising from a meeting of the NWC last week, issued a statement to the effect that there is only one recognized leadership of the party in the state and described anybody claiming to belong to any other factions as impostors, Ijere said the meeting never took such decision, but instead resolved to invite the two factions and resolve their differences.
Nalado insisted the only recognised congress of the party in Oyo State was the one conducted by Mr Bashir Lawal, adding that the congress was held after the national body gave its nod and was also duly monitored by representatives of INEC. According to him, the party had a clearly spelt-out internal mechanism for resolving disputes.
“We are admonishing all aggrieved members of the party in the state to avail themselves of such, instead of taking the laws into their hands. We are not having a crisis in Oyo State. What we are having is a misunderstanding among our party followers in the state. We have only one structure that was elected at a congress as the executive council of Oyo State Accord.
“They (the recognised exco) wrote to us seeking for permission to conduct congresses from the wards to the state level and we gave them the go-ahead. So, for any other person who feels aggrieved over the outcome of the congress to decide to take laws into his hand, we don’t think it is correct.
“People should not take laws into their hands. If you have grievances, you know the best way to get such grievances addressed. You cannot just say because you are a card-carrying member of Accord and then decide to start operation on your own. It is never done anywhere. We have procedure; we have rule of law. You can’t just say because you are a party member, you will just go and form your faction. You cannot form faction. We don’t believe in creating factions,” he said.
But Ijere disagreed with the national Chairman and urged the leadership of the party to avoid doing anything that can further divide the party in Oyo state. He recalled that as the person who acted at the Secretary and took the minute of the NWC meeting in question, he is in a position to know the decisions reached at the meeting.
“The views ascribed to the person of our National chairman may very well be his personal opinion or he may have been quoted out of context since they do not represent the actual position of the NWC of our party. Members of our numerous party faithful in Oyo state are therefore advised to go about their normal business while they await the final decision of the NWC towards addressing the impasse in line with the resolutions of the National Working Committee of the party on the 15th of November 2016.
I, Engineer Odo Ijere, acted as the secretary of the said NWC meeting of the 15th of Nov.2016 and also having being vested with the responsibility of taking the minutes of the meeting, am quite conversant with all the views canvassed and consequent resolutions agreed upon at the meeting. The NWC noted with dismay the tendency of the party to break into factions in Oyo state because of the prolonged disputes arising from the 2014 general election in the state and resolved to bring all the warring factions to work together again rather than recognize any.
The last NEC meeting of the party held on the 6th of October 2016 mandated a 3-man committee headed by DR. Dokun Babarinde to meet the warring parties and intermediate a peaceful solution. The meeting of 15th of November could not discuss the report even though it was in the agenda of the day because of the inability of the Nat. chairman to table the report for discussion,” Ijere said.
Consequent upon the failure of the national leadership of the party to resolve the lingering fictionalization, the Senator Rasheed Ladoja-led faction of the party in the state has petitioned the state police commissioner, Samuel Adegbuyi, about the alleged activities of some impostors, asking him to arrest one Honourable Dauda Lawal and his colleagues for parading themselves as executive members of the party.
In the petition signed by the secretary of the party in the state, Dr. Nureni Adeniran, the Accord Party faction said it is making the demand because both its National Working Committee (NWC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had repeatedly confirmed that the party is not fictionalized in Oyo state.
Adeniran described members of the group claiming to be a faction of Accord as “fifth columnists whose sole objective is to cause a breach of public peace.
“You will recall that we recently wrote you complaining about the activities of this group and further to say that we also sent you a copy of the list of authentic chairmen of the party in the local governments in the state. Contrary to the decorum and in total disregard of the party’s constitution, the group has been expanding to the local governments with a view to causing a social mayhem and public disorder,” the letter read in part.
“We, therefore, call on you to do the needful before they cause a serious breach of public peace as they went to the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) to claim being the executive committee of Accord in the state last week. Impersonation is a serious criminal offence and hence security agencies should not fold their arms and watch helplessly,” Adeniran said.
Trouble started for Ladoja’s party last October when it failed, after two previous attempts, to produce a unified state executive committee, as the factions in the party held two parallel congress to produce parallel executives at the ward, local government and state levels.
While a faction of the party held its congress at the Olubadan Stadium, Iyaganku back then, the other held its election at Green Springs Hotel, Old Ife Road, Ibadan. Ladoja, attended the gathering at the hotel. Others at the same venue with him were Senator Femi Lanlehin, Chief Bayo Lawal, Chief Dele Adigun, Prof. Tunde Ayeleru, Hon. Bayo Lawal, former Deputy Speaker, Hon. Babatunde Olaniyan; Hon. Olayemi Busari and all the eight Accord members in the state House of Assembly.
The congress at the Olubadan Stadium was attended by Prince Dotun Oyelade, Hon. Dr Adebukola Ajaja, Egr Remi Olaniyan, Hon. Nojeem Omirinde, Prince Tunji Adeoye, Dr Remi Ayodele, Tijani Sulaimon, Adelodun Amoo, Titilola Dauda and Abiola Ayorinde Oyelade.
Elected by the Ladoja faction were Alh. Wahab Oyelade (State Chairman), Dr Nureni Adeniran (State Secretary), Mrs Yetunde Ajibola (Women Leader), Akeem Olatunji (Publicity Secretary), Mr Adekola Adeoye (Youth Leader), Nasiru Adeniyi (Organising Secretary), and Pastor Oladimejo Orolade (Treasurer).
Similarly, the Dotun Oyelade faction elected Hon. Dauda Lawal as Chairman, Hon. Abdul Adetona as Vice Chairman, former chairman Saki-East Local Government, Egnr Muda Ogunsola as Secretary Kehinde Adebimpe as Teasurer; Hon. Josiah Olufemi Idowu as Publicity Secretary, Owolabi Folarin as Organizing Secretary and Yinka Oladimeji as Youth Leader.
Reacting to the call for the arrest of its officials, the Dauda-Lawal faction has described the call as frivolous. Insisting that the national leadership of the party never recognized the Ladoja faction, the group said it is the authentic leadership of the party in the state, calling on the Police and other relevant agencies to be thorough in their investigation into the matter.
With the two factions unwilling to give peace a chance, pundits are of the opinion that the party may be shooting itself in the leg ahead of next year’s council election in the state. Many are wondering how a party bedeviled with internal crisis and leadership struggle will be able to canvass for and win votes in a matter of months.